Most of us know by now that Eli Davis was questioned by police while he was mowing his West Davis lawn and told to produce identification. A senior citizen. A 30-year homeowner. A gentle, kind grandfather. A 68-year-old African-American man. I felt like I was back in the deep South in the 1950s.
After attending the Davis community meeting at the library on Sunday, I became convinced there is a problem right here, right now. Several African-American Davisites told me that police and residents of our right and relevant town of Davis have shown a disturbingly racist side to them for many years.
My children and I moved to Davis from the Bay Area in 1987. Any concerns I had about lack of diversity were immediately alleviated after the first day of school. Valley Oak Elementary School was a miniature United Nations, thanks to children of UC Davis students. My children not only had an excellent education but an interracial experience that will positively affect them for the rest of their lives. I wish all of us had been so fortunate.
Perhaps the officer did not realize what he was doing when he questioned an older African-American man mowing his lawn in front of his own home. If so, he certainly needs to learn a lot more about history, the nuances of Jim Crow laws and racial profiling.
I believe the remedy is not only a public apology from the Davis police chief to Eli Davis, but a two-week diversity immersion training for all of our police officers. Davis is too fine a town to have even a whiff of racism in the air.